Explore awards

Use the filter menu and interactive map to explore the past competitions offered and grants awarded through the Environmental Literacy Program.

To learn more about project findings and outcomes, view the summaries of our grantees’ summative evaluation reports.

Exploring Inner Space: Linking Aquariums with Ocean Scientists

Funding: $1,799,964
Year: 2009
This program is a pilot project and collaborative effort to develop partnerships and educational programming using state of the art technology. The project partnership is comprised of a leading ocean science research and education institution, the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography and its new state of the art Inner Space Center (ISC), and two strong national ocean science education networks: the National Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Network and NOAA's Office of Exploration and Research (NOAA-OER) Education Alliance.

This program is a pilot project and collaborative effort to develop partnerships and educational programming using state of the art technology. The project partnership is comprised of a leading ocean science research and education institution, the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography and its new state of the art Inner Space Center (ISC), and two strong national ocean science education networks: the National Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Network and NOAA's Office of Exploration and Research (NOAA-OER) Education Alliance. In addition, two partner sites will serve as proof of concept sites and education hubs - Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration (CT) and South Carolina Aquarium (SC), both affiliated with COSEE, the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center Network (CELC), and NOAA-OER. Through this initiative, the ISC will install new Exploration Command Stations (ECSs) and enhance Ocean Today kiosks at the partner sites, strategically selected aquariums. Through this pilot project, the ECSs and kiosks (modeled after the original Ocean Today kiosk in the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History’s Sant Ocean Hall) will form an Ocean Interpretive Station at the partner sites. The ISC will provide live links from the Center's facilities to the newly installed ECSs and kiosks using feeds from various remote Ocean Exploration platforms, including the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and the exploration vessel, E/V Nautilus. The project's Content Development Team (CDT) will develop associated educational materials for use in public programs at the partner sites.

Award Number: NA09SEC4690043
Grant Dates: 12/31/2009 to 12/30/2014
PI: Dwight Coleman
State: Connecticut   County:   New London District: CT02
Partners: Oregon State University (OSU) / Hatfield Marine Science Center · Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science / Alaska SeaLife Center · Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center (CELC) Network · Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) · University of Rhode Island (URI) / Inner Space Center (ISC) · South Carolina Aquarium ·

Sound Resilience-Get on Board!

Funding: $484,955
Year: 2016
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is located at the mouth of the Norwalk River where it flows into Long Island Sound. Its mission is to inspire people to appreciate and protect the Sound and the global environment. As global climate change increases, extreme storms and sea levels continue to rise and a growing percentage of the 23 million people living within 50 miles of the Sound are directly affected by severe weather events, providing a timely opportunity to educate students, teachers, and the public about community resilience.

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is located at the mouth of the Norwalk River where it flows into Long Island Sound. Its mission is to inspire people to appreciate and protect the Sound and the global environment. As global climate change increases, extreme storms and sea levels continue to rise and a growing percentage of the 23 million people living within 50 miles of the Sound are directly affected by severe weather events, providing a timely opportunity to educate students, teachers, and the public about community resilience. From 2017-2020, the Aquarium developed and delivered an innovative three-session climate resilience education program to more than 2,000 middle and high school students in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The Sound Resilience student experience began in the classroom, where students learned about the impacts of hurricanes and coastal storms on their communities and used a hands-on “beach in a box” to model the effectiveness of built structures like seawalls and natural resilience features including salt marshes and oyster reefs. Then, during a two-hour research cruise on the Aquarium’s hybrid-electric research vessel, Spirit of the Sound, students collaborated to map their home coastlines from the water: identifying vulnerable locations from apartment buildings to power plants, as well as the existing resilience structures protecting their coast. On the vessel they also stepped into the role of climate scientists, conducting real-time weather and water sampling, including collecting and examining photosynthetic plankton that absorb carbon and help to slow down the effects of climate change. The third program session, back in the classroom, sent students on a design and decision-making journey, in which they compared their collaboratively created resilience map with flood-risk maps of their hometown, then worked together to identify gaps in resilience infrastructure and design a resilience plan for their community. As a result of Sound Resilience – Get on Board!, there were significant gains in students’ understanding of resilience science and their own sense of agency in creating a resilient future for their communities. Participants also reported deeper understanding of, and connection to, the Sound’s coastal ecosystems, which serve to buffer storm waves, sequester carbon, and protect communities from extreme weather and climate change. The Aquarium also developed and delivered a teacher professional development workshop focusing on effective and standards-aligned methods of teaching climate change, resilience, and environmental justice issues. Finally, an interactive experience was created for guests in one of the Aquarium’s most highly trafficked spaces. It includes a series of twenty-foot map projections of Long Island Sound showing present and future vulnerabilities and resilience methods, as well as a touch-screen kiosk where guests can interact with NOAA resources showing the risks that floods and sea level rise pose to their home communities. Although the grant period has ended, the resources created thanks to NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program will live on. The guest experience on the Aquarium floor will continue for the foreseeable future and the student programs—in-person as well as virtual—and teacher workshops will remain available within the Aquarium’s program catalog.

Award Number: NA16SEC0080005
Grant Dates: 10/01/2016 to 09/30/2020
PI: Thomas Naiman
State: Connecticut   County:   Fairfield District: CT04
Partners: NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) · National Sea Grant College Program / University of Connecticut · National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) / Northeast Fisheries Science Center · University of Connecticut / Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) · Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WestCOG) · Stamford Public Schools · Bridgeport Public Schools · City of Bridgeport · Norwalk Fire Department · City of Stamford · Fairfield Fire Department · Norwalk River Watershed Initiative (NRWI) · Norwalk Public Schools · State of Connecticut / Department of Economic and Community Development ·

Shedd-NOAA Partnership for Student, Teacher and Public Engagement

Funding: $1,100,000
Year: 2009
Shedd Aquarium has launched a large-scale effort to address the long-standing need to better connect citizens in the Great Lakes region to their local Great Lakes watershed, to engage them in making positive changes to help the ecosystem, and to engage decision-makers and leaders to enact large scale change to improve the ecosystem over the long term. Through this award, Shedd is positioning itself strategically as the regional hub for Great Lakes education and behavior change by promoting Great Lakes civic engagement.

Shedd Aquarium has launched a large-scale effort to address the long-standing need to better connect citizens in the Great Lakes region to their local Great Lakes watershed, to engage them in making positive changes to help the ecosystem, and to engage decision-makers and leaders to enact large scale change to improve the ecosystem over the long term. Through this award, Shedd is positioning itself strategically as the regional hub for Great Lakes education and behavior change by promoting Great Lakes civic engagement. Shedd Aquarium's Center for the Great Lakes is designed to bring scientists, business and government leaders, visionaries, and Great Lakes citizens together to formalize a strategic framework for increasing Great Lakes literacy and fostering Great Lakes stewardship. With the help of leading organizations: NOAA, COSEE Great Lakes, and members of the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition, a new vision for the Great Lakes region is being created. This civic engagement project is producing needed outcomes: increasing Great Lakes literacy while promoting policies of sustainability that ultimately will support the adoption of a stewardship ethic among our target audiences in the Midwest. Shedd's efforts empower citizens and civic entities to be critical thinkers who fully participate in the advancement of a sustainable society.

Award Number: NA09SEC4690042
Grant Dates: 10/01/2009 to 09/30/2012
PI: Michelle Parker
State: Illinois   County:   Cook District: IL07
Partners: Consortium for Ocean Leadership · University of Wisconsin–Madison / Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) · U.S. National Park Service · National Wildlife Federation (NWF) / Great Lakes Regional Center · National Park Conservation Association ·

Teen Advocates for Community and Environmental Sustainability (Teen ACES)

Funding: $498,471
Year: 2016
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) developed museum-based education resources to engage high school-age youth in the exploration of climate literacy and Earth systems science through its Teen ACES (Teen Advocates for Community and Environmental Sustainability) project. As the future leaders who will make decisions about the issues they face in their communities, youth participants were positioned to act as advocates for establishing resilient communities in the Midwest.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) developed museum-based education resources to engage high school-age youth in the exploration of climate literacy and Earth systems science through its Teen ACES (Teen Advocates for Community and Environmental Sustainability) project. As the future leaders who will make decisions about the issues they face in their communities, youth participants were positioned to act as advocates for establishing resilient communities in the Midwest. The project utilized a variety of resources, including NOAA Science On a Sphere® (SOS) technology and datasets, Great Lakes and local climate assets from the Midwest Regional Climate Center and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, and existing local planning guides to develop museum-based youth programming. Teens explored environmental hazards including severe weather events and temperature extremes and considered the impact of the Great Lakes on regional climate. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Resilient Chicago, the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago, and the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium advised on the project to support the integration of municipal resiliency plans and their related adaptation and mitigation measures into the program. After completing a 30-hour course with MSI, teen participants had the opportunity to facilitate SOS® experiences for museum guests. Teens also shared their learning with the Chicago community through programs at Chicago Public Library branches and Chicago Park District sites. The project revised content for use in 102 after-school science clubs for students from diverse communities across the Chicago area. Educational resources and experiences created through this grant reached nearly 150,000 students, educators and guests over four years.

Award Number: NA16SEC0080001
Grant Dates: 10/01/2016 to 09/30/2020
PI: Marvin McClure
State: Illinois   County:   Cook District: IL02
Partners: National Sea Grant College Program / University of Illinois · NOAA Regional Climate Center / Midwestern Regional Climate Center · Boonshoft Museum of Discovery · Science Central · Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) · Chicago Public Library (CPL) · Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV) · Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum · Loyola University · Moraine Valley Community College · City of Chicago · City of Chicago / Chicago Park District · Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago ·

Promoting Environmental Literacy through Teacher Professional Development Workshops and Climate Change Student Summits (C2S2)

Funding: $696,672
Year: 2009
This project will provide K-12 teacher professional development and focused student activities to promote environmental literacy using the essential principles of ocean and climate literacy.

This project will provide K-12 teacher professional development and focused student activities to promote environmental literacy using the essential principles of ocean and climate literacy. In partnerships with NOAA entities, school districts, and museums across the United States, we will provide: (1) high-energy face-to-face professional development workshops for teachers, facilitated by experienced educators; (2) ongoing support and interactions among teachers and students through an online collaborative website, or group-hub; and, (3) high-profile, focused events in which students interact with scientists and the public to share what they've learned, both locally and internationally. The primary goal of this project is to increase the environmental literacy of K-12 teachers and their students from school districts that are part of existing science museum networks. Each summer, we will work with 4 to 6 partner museums to invite 30 to 40 teachers from their local school districts to take part in a pair of workshops.

Award Number: NA09SEC4690009
Grant Dates: 09/01/2009 to 12/30/2013
PI: Frank Rack
State: Nebraska   County:   Lancaster District: NE01
Partners: Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) Chicago · Technical Education Research Centers / TERC · Birch Aquarium at Scripps · California State University at San Marcos · Virginia Tech / College of Agriculture and Life Sciences · Grossmont College · Hardin Public Schools 17-H&1 · Little Big Horn College · Oak Park Unified School District · Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium · San Diego Unified School District · Anchorage School District (ASD) · Bureau of Land Management (BLM) / Campbell Creek Science Center · Carteret County Public School System · Montana State University / Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (LRES) · North Carolina Maritime Museum · Northern Illinois University / Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences · University of Alaska (UA-Anchorage)/ Department of Biological Sciences · University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) · University of Alaska (UA-Fairbanks) · University of California at Santa Barbara · University of Michigan / Museum of Natural History · University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) / Institute of Marine Science · University of Washington (UW) / School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) · Virginia Tech / Biocomplexity Institute · University of Michigan / Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences ·